Harper’s Bazaar Jessica Matlin On Her Bump-Approved Beauty Routine, Plus Stretch Marks, Podcasting, And Gummies
Beauty Director and award-winning co-founder of beauty podcast Fat Mascara, Jessica is candid, fresh, and about to have a girl!
Here, this very witty and soon-to-be mama sounds off about her pregnancy-safe beauty regime, stretch marks (hello, HATCH Belly Oil), and varicose veins (fun, we know!). Plus, her thoughts on becoming a working mom, keeping a vegetarian diet while pregnant, her love of gummies, and why she’s living in dresses — it’s all about air-flow, ladies!
Current state of mind?
I’m nearly eight months and it’s pretty jam-packed in there with almost no room for my organs. I definitely feel there’s a little person inside of me — I woke up this morning and felt her move from one side to the other. It’s wild!
Girl or boy?
Girl and she’s due on Valentine’s day 🙂 I thought it was going to be a boy in the beginning, but one day it hit me like a ton of bricks that we’re having a girl, and that’s the case.
Path to pregnancy?
Shortly after we got married (about a year and a half ago), I went to my OBGYN to discuss the process of getting pregnant. Seeing as I was already in my late 30s, I didn’t want to waste any time. I had the doctor do a series of tests to check all of my levels, and when she called with the results, her opening line was, “I wish we were having a different conversation right now…” With my results in hand, she sent me to a fertility specialist who told me to relax, not stress and try naturally for three months. If we had no luck with that, he said to come back for another consultation.
After that doctor’s visit, I took a beat and waited a few months. When we finally began to “try,” we were on vacation in late spring and I was very relaxed, living a completely different lifestyle.
About a month or so later, in early June, I started to feel woozy and not present. When I told my husband that I felt “off,” he off-handily said that perhaps I was pregnant. I laughed because, at this point, I fully expected we’d be doing IVF. The next day at work, mid-meeting, I felt extremely nauseous, bolted up for air, and ran across the street to buy a pregnancy test. I came back to work, took the test, and he was right, I was pregnant!
Pregnancy beauty routine?
In addition to Harper’s Bazaar, I also have a podcast called Fat Mascara, and this is a regular question from our listeners.
While I certainly paired back with pregnancy, I didn’t feel the need to toss and swap my entire regime with products that said ‘clean’ or ‘non-toxic’ explicitly. People are surprised to hear that I didn’t do a total overhaul, however, there’s no universal definition for what is clean, and we all need to do what we’re comfortable with because the standard is different for everyone. In general, I think the main things to avoid are salicylic acid, retinol, benzoyl peroxide, infrared, and some lasers. Plus, injectables are a big no-no when you’re pregnant. My doctor, on the other hand, is fine with me coloring my hair, whereas some aren’t. That said, for any questions about ingredients or procedures, it’s best to check with you doctor.
In the morning, I splash my face with water, then tone with this Aerin Rose Mist Setting Spray ( it’s lovely and smells like roses with powder). Then I put on a serum (my go-to is Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate) followed by a moisturizer with SPF (I have long loved Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream SPF 30), but I swap in other day creams from time to time: Often, Tracie Martyn Facial Resculpting Cream or Chanel Sublimage La Crème. Those don’t have SPF, so I top them with the Giorgio Armani Maestro UV Makeup Primer, which has SPF 50. SPF is always important to me, but especially now, as hyperpigmentation is a wonderful “side effect” of pregnancy. My eye cream is usually Tatcha The Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream. I love the texture, and makes an excellent base for concealer, which I need more of now that I can’t sleep! Third-trimester insomnia is real.
At night, I cleanse with a creamy face wash. My favorite is Naturopathica Oat Cleansing Facial Polish—it doubles as a gentle physical exfoliator, which I love. Then I use a serum (often it’s Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Retexturizing Serum), eye cream, and face cream. Some of my favorite PM moisturizers are Sisley Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream or the Aurelia Overnight Recovery Mask. It’s a creamy balm that you massage into the skin (you really have to rub it in), and you feel enveloped in moisture. The scent is gorgeous, too.
Ultimately though, being pregnant is like having the best oxygen facial there is because you have so much more blood pumping through your veins. So, enjoy it!
Ohhh tell us more about Fat Mascara?
It’s a beauty-focused podcast that I co-host with Jenn Goldstein, the Beauty Director at Marie Claire. We officially aired our first official Fat Mascara episode in February of 2016, with Rose-Marie Swift. Since then, the show has taken off. It’s candid, fun, and full of debate around beauty products and the industry in general with guests such as Mario Dedivanovic, Charlotte Tilbury, and Olivia Wilde plus insider experts like cosmetic chemists and perfumers as well. In 2020 iHeartRadio nominated our show in the Fashion and Beauty category for its 2020 Podcast Awards (we’re pretty excited about that!).
Tips for dealing with stretch marks and varicose veins?
Overall I feel great; however, stretch marks and varicose veins have been top of mind for me during my pregnancy. My right leg has severe varicose veins that will have to be removed after I give birth. It’s pretty much a hereditary luck of the draw in terms of who gets them. Same thing for stretch marks. Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank said there’s no way to prevent them entirely, and the best thing to do is to keep the body very moisturized with body oil ( I use the HATCH Belly Oil!) or anything hydrating. We interviewed him on IG TV for our podcast Fat Mascara here:
What about your pregnancy style?
For better or for worse, my style hasn’t changed much with pregnancy. I’ve always been a dress girl, only the proportions have changed. Plus, I’m always overheating. Even now that it’s winter, I’m wearing my long HATCH dresses without tights — hello, air circulation!
How are you planning to take maternity leave?
I get 4 months off from Harpers Bazaar which is incredible but for my podcast, which we work on every week and is a business, I cannot take 4 months off. In advance of me having the baby we have done a lot of prep work and prerecorded a number of episodes. That said, I also have an amazing partner and co-founder that will steady the ship while I’m away.
Over the summer, I was addicted to juicy, citrusy fruit. Now it’s Pasta Pomodoro, plus cold Reese’s Pieces peanut butter cups and Kit Kats!
I’m vegetarian so I eat a ton of peanut butter — probably too much by any nutritionist standard. But, I need the protein. I became a vegetarian in 2013 after seeing a documentary on the life of the animals bred for their meat. It made me sick on a full-body level, and really affected me. After that I didn’t want to eat meat anymore and feel so much better since having stopped. I get plenty of protein through beans and rice, plus peanut butter, as mentioned!
A secret pregnancy discovery?
I love my Olly prenatal gummies! They have done wonders for my hair.
My goal is to deliver our baby safely and get an epidural. Other than that, I’m not too invested in the birth plan; I guess I have a modified version. I did, however, download a birth plan checklist. It’s hysterical what’s on there — soft lighting, playlists, and mirrors! The lights and music I understand, but the mirrors, not so much. I guess it’s so you can see the baby come out. I never even thought of this. It’s supposed to be motivating, and while I get that, I’m not sure it’s the right choice for me. The list also includes things like whether I would like to pull the baby out or have my partner do it… how about the doctor does it, please. 🙂
I’ve been pretty vocal about my anxiety around being pregnant and what life will be like after — I spoke about this on my podcast as well. I was surprised when I voiced these concerns, people said I was brave for speaking out or they were proud of me for being honest. I’ve found that many women feel embarrassed to talk about their fears around motherhood, but for me, being honest doesn’t take away from my joy about becoming a mother, but it does make me feel a little lighter when it comes to my worries or things that confuse me. Long story short, put it out there. It doesn’t make you ungrateful, but it does provide relief. We all have fears; it’s just part of the process.